Vol. 8, No. 5
~ Page 8 ~
One of the reasons for studying the Bible is to learn truth and abandon error, but have you noticed the current trend of some brethren "studying" themselves into error? The elders of one congregation announced that they have studied the matter and concluded that there is no New Testament prohibition of instrumental music in the worship, and they decided to adopt it's use. Another church says that they have studied it and decided that there is no reason to limit taking the Lord's Supper to Sunday only. They will observe it on another day as well. Yet another group says that after careful study they have decided that they will use women in a "more active" role in their worship services.
We must wonder what accounts for this current trend, but one doesn't have to wonder long when he realizes that when people have a mind to do a thing they can easily "study" themselves into it. Their hermeneutics will give them the license to do whatever they like in religion and the fact that they have "studied" it will give it the appearance of honest investigation. The very reverse of this disturbing trend was seen in the early days of the Restoration Movement when it was not unheard of for entire congregations to study themselves out of sectarianism and into New Testament Christianity! Now we have brethren "studying" themselves out of following the New Testament order ("tradition" as they call it) and following a course back into denominationalism. Go figure!
Solomon of old wrote, "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy father have set" (Proverbs 22:28). Landmarks were property markers. It was and is wrong for a person's property to be encroached upon. Such boundaries are a standing witness to rightful ownership. The same applies to the doctrine of God. In recent years, we have seen many critical doctrinal landmarks being removed by liberal-minded brethren: baptism for the remission of sins, instrumental music in the worship, the uniqueness of the church and now the frequency of the Lord's supper. Denominations have always moved landmarks in these and other areas of teaching.
In the late 1980's, I worked as a contract chaplain for the Department of Corrections in Georgia. When the regular chaplain died, the "communion was celebrated" during a memorial service. I thought it highly erroneous, but characteristic of people who are untaught in the Scriptures. I never dreamed then that some of our brethren would be doing exactly the same thing. Stream 2000 is a mid-winter weekend event devoted to "worship in praise, prayer, song and small group fellowship" put on by the Golf Course Road Church of Christ in Midland, Texas. On their web page announcing this event they discuss "Communion - Frequency of the Celebration." They let it be known that when they were planning Stream '97 they thought it would be fitting to conclude their Saturday's schedule with "the celebration of Communion." Many of their members had been to an interdenominational weekend event where they "had been greatly blessed by the Communion service taken on a Friday or a Saturday." They wanted to do the same at Golf Course Road.
In a futile effort to explain their error, go through a listing of scriptural references to the Lord's supper, and then deny that any pattern exists for the frequency of observance. The writer, Ken Young, admits that "Acts 20:6,7 confirms the pattern of the New Testament church meeting on the first day of the week." Please understand that pattern is a bad word for liberals. In the very next sentence the same writer then says, "The strict tradition of observing the Lord's Supper exclusively on Sunday is built around the Acts 20 reference." According to this brother a "pattern" exists in Acts 20:7 for the church meeting on the Lord's Day, but in regard to the Lord's Supper a "tradition" has restricted it to Sunday! Pray tell me how can a pattern exist in the first consideration (assembling) and not in the second (the frequency of observing the Lord's Supper)? The writer adds, "The apostles never once specified a correct day to celebrate Communion in their writing." True to form the liberals ignore the binding force of an apostolic example when it suits them. No one has the right to move the ancient landmarks of apostolic example on this or any other matter. A serious error has been sanctioned!